Jeff’s layout in the making

“Trees are hand built with a balsa hand carved trunk, stained .

I bought fresh caspia from the local flower shop and dried. After dried I painted with a craft paint in moss green, Then I installed each branch one at a time.

When all branches were installed I used the green ground foam and the cheep hair spray to hold the foam.

When dried I installed the dead branches.

To date I have made more than 700 from 4 to 24 inches. Some have hand made eagle nests.

Pictures of scratch built bridges and trestle’s, researched university of Washington’s library on Washington’s logging railroads and found the trestle’s that were built in my state.

I will send more pictures as I get more track and turnouts installed. I am hand laying my track and built my turnouts.

Some pictures of my hand painted backdrop.

Snohomish, wa”








Big thanks to Jeff for sharing. Loved the hand painted back drop – can’t wait to see the finished layout too.

That’s all this time peeps.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

49 Responses to Jeff’s layout in the making

  1. Very artistic , well done Jeff

  2. christine says:

    Very nice work. Some of the best I’ve seen. Way to go. Thank you for showing me these photo’s.

  3. ron pitt says:

    Jeff, you are not only a good modeler, you are an artist, love your work to date.
    Ron from Manchester.

  4. Anthony Richards says:

    Very very good

  5. David says:

    Out standing back drop. You are an Artist. Love the tower and wind mill. Looking forward to more pictures.

  6. Steve Roberts says:

    Excellent work Jeff, looking forward to seeing the follow ups.
    Steve R. Sheffield UK

  7. John Meehan says:

    Very nice! Reminds me of Snohomish! I went there with the family last December and the boys went skiing.

  8. longovince says:

    Thank you for showing your layout and talent.

  9. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Simply outstanding,a very talented person and a great looking layout.

  10. Richard says:

    Jeff, your trees are the most realistic that I’ve ever seen. Could you provide pictures with the process in making them. I would greatly appreciate it. Your painted back drop is extremely realistic as well. Fantastic work and thank for sharing.

  11. john wisnieski says:

    Very nice backdrop. You should turn your artistic ability in to a business.

  12. Pete Evangel says:

    Obviously Jeff has some pretty darn good talent! The mountains in the background look like real granite! Love the water tower. Keep us posted with more please.

  13. bob says:

    I agree you are more of an artist than a model railroader. very nice, professional. I wish I could do things that detailed.

    st Louis bob

  14. excellent scratch building and the detail is incredible….keep on ‘pikin’….!!!

  15. Roland Burch says:

    I agree with Ron. Jeff, you are an artist.
    Roland – Nashville

  16. very nice backdrops. the trees look great sounds like a lot of time goes into making them.nice work on the trestles. thanks Al for the email .

  17. tom says:

    Jeff, Everything is well done. That backdrop … should be framed and hanging on your wall. what a beautiful painting. When your railroad is complete … I can’t wait to for you to show case your talents. Hat off to a job well done until the finished product comes. Keep us posted. Thanks Jeff and Al for sharing.

    Best regards,


  18. Bulfrogeh in Ontario says:

    Very nice to see someone who dedicates his own talents into his railroad layout.

  19. Andy in Yakima,Wa. USA says:

    Looks great! Are you modeling narrow gauge O? The turntable is beautiful.

  20. Cameron says:

    Very nice modeling.

  21. Duncan Galbraith says:

    You are the embodiment of proof that our hobby is 3D art. Superb!
    D/ Argyll, Scotland

  22. Gary D says:

    What a beautiful job with your back drop and all the scratch building. You have quite the talent on everything you’ve done. To be half as good as you, I would be happy. Please keep posting on your layout. Great job!!

  23. Bill Fitzpatrick says:


  24. Stuart says:

    wonderful artwork, very realistic. and the trees are supurb.

  25. Dennis says:

    Very nice! I live on Vashon Island and would love to see your layout in person. My scale is S (A/F), but the background and trees are interchangeable, especially if you are in O gauge or Sn3.
    Dennis D

  26. THOMAS says:


  27. Frank Ervin says:

    Thanks Jeff and very commendable. I am in the process of building a 16 x 25
    foot HO layout in the steam era myself. Being a disabled veteran in my eighties
    (hopefully before my expiration ) and would like to include an old grist mill with
    a waterwheel using REAL WATER and a small fountain water pump. Since
    water is corrosive, is there a suitable substitute for water that you or some one
    could suggest? Many thanks and keep-up the great work. Frank Ervin

  28. Hi Jeff,

    WoW! What a great looking backdrop, it looks so realistic, as does your scratch built items, especially the turntable.

    Stemar, (Downunder)

  29. James E.Richards says:

    Incredible detail in your modeling and painting. Looks wonderful GREAT job!

  30. Cary B says:

    Nice work Jeff

    Cary B

  31. Jim Aspin says:

    To say super impressed is an understatement!

  32. Antony says:

    Brilliant models and backdrop.

  33. george zaky says:

    Great work and artistry. What scale? Now that you have whetted our appetites we will hound you for more info.
    Be safe
    George from NY

  34. Colin Edinburgh says:

    Jeff Look like its going to be a very nicely detailed railroad once completed. As you obviously are a perfectionist please accept these comments the way they are intended. The painted backdrop looks really good in fact one of the best we have seen however, with all the conifers and the obvious elevation of the scene I doubt you would find any broad leafed trees at this elevation. The windmill is outstanding but I wonder if its frame/tower is over scale in the thickness of the timbers.
    I once built my own track for an outside railroad. Purchasing the rail and the crowns and cutting the sleepers myself. It really was a huge task and Im not sure if it was worth all the time it took to do so. Turnouts were a problem to get to run smoothly. Even levelling the track side to side was a pain as was running the crowns down the track to the correct position and keeping them parallel to each other. Good luck with that part of your project but I wonder with so many fine scale tracks available it is worth all the effort. Perhaps shop buy the majority and make your own specialist area. like your turn table tracks etc. etc.
    Please keep us updated it looks like its going to be a really good layout. A track plan would be good if you have one.

  35. Chris says:

    Very nice work,

  36. Randolph says:

    Very impressive tower

  37. Jeff…
    As others have said, that backdrop is amazing… Just beautiful work.
    The water tower and bridges are great as well…
    Curious about your turntable… Is that built on an Atlas mechanism or is it a full scratchbuild… It is outstanding!
    Would love to see a tutorial on your trees… They really are some of the best I have seen.

  38. Will in NM says:

    Jeff, You obviously have a lot of artistic talent both in your backdrop painting and your scratch built structures. But the other thing you must have is a lot of patience and perfectionism to build 700 trees one branch at a time. Your result reflect the quality of your dedication to your model railroad. Keep up the great work and keep us posted on your progress.

  39. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Great work! Outstanding!

  40. Jeff says:

    Thanks for all the great comments,
    It’s a work in progress, I took a year off got burnt out but I have just started working again.
    This was my first attempt at painting and it was a fun challenge.
    Thanks to Al for posting.
    More to come.

  41. Steve Ruple says:

    Excellent scratch builds, you are a true artist, outstanding work!!!!

  42. Ernest Curtin says:

    Beautiful! Well done

  43. Leo says:

    Jeff I was impressed here is a thought find a butterfly bush use the seed blossoms
    after the flower have fallen off cut the seed pods dip in 50% Glycerin and water soak over night then in the morning stand them in Styrofoam and let them dry they will never get brittle and the won’t burn up. When you want to use them pluck the branches anyway you like spray a little flat Laquerre sprinkle with desired foam granules and wha law you have trees.

  44. Ronald Seto says:

    Based on the size of the sour cream container in the last photo, I am guessing the scale is S gauge. Am I right?

  45. Gerald Edgar says:

    The water tower is superb modeling!

  46. That is fantastic modeling

  47. Howard says:

    Really nice modeling! Wish I had some of this talent…

    regards, Howard

  48. I love the turntable. Is it a kit? Or, I would love to know how you built it.

  49. Steven Stallings says:

    Beautiful work and artistry. Can’t wait to see more. Don’t be intimidated by hand-laying track. I use turnout templates from Fast Tracks and the results are excellent. They have tools and templates for most track configurations in most scales at I am just a customer, but I do use their products for hand laid S scale track because pre-made track or turnouts in s-scale is hard to find. I model S and Sn3, not American Flyer hi-rail. Keep up the outstanding work.

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